NC State forward injures himself running onto floor

In the four years since Sidney Lowe took over for Herb Sendek as NC State's coach, the Wolfpack have sunk from perennial NCAA tournament team to near irrelevancy in the ACC.

Allow me to submit the freak injury freshman forward Richard Howell sustained Wednesday night as a candidate for the low point of that decline.

Howell, slated to make his first career start against Virginia Tech, gouged his leg on an exposed bolt as he ran through the RBC Center tunnel and onto the floor for warmups with the rest of his teammates. The wound was bad enough to require nine stitches, limiting him to just three minutes in a 72-52 home loss to the Hokies.

Another coach might have joked about making his players go through shootaround wrapped in bubble pack or giving them safety goggles to wear for the national anthem, but not the straight-laced, ever-serious Lowe.

"He tried to go but he couldn't really run," Lowe told reporters after the game. "He couldn't get back on defense. It happened on the way out to warm-ups."

As tempting as it is to write that this could only happen to NC State, the truth is the Wolfpack aren't the only program to be victimized by a key injury during warmups.

Don't forget that Texas lost starting guard Varez Ward for the season in November as a result of a ruptured right quadriceps tendon suffered when he landed awkwardly during layup drills before a game.

Hmmm, maybe that bubble pack idea has some merit.

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